Dancing text on the screen reminds us that no woman has won American Idol in six years, followed by a reminder of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Jordin Sparks, as if to remind us that it ever happened at all. The dancing words also ask whether the women of Season 12 can turn that around. At the beginning of this season, I would have said that if Jessica Sanchez couldn't do it then nobody could, but then I recall that we didn't see many Cute White Guys with Guitars last week. So maybe they finally figured out to quit stacking the deck.
We return to the last day of Hollywood Week, as Ryan tells us that 47 women are still in the competition, at least until more than half of them end up getting cut by the end of the day. He adds that for this final solo round, they had to pick their song from a list of twenty. Of course, they could also sing one of their own originals, but who would do that? Angela Miller would, it seems. You may or may not remember her; she was one of the second bananas in some drama-ridden group or another -- you know how they all run together. So expectations are not high on my end. With the band backing her up, she sits down at the grand piano onstage and... actually sounds great. She's got a strong, clear voice and the song she's written is better than most of the crap we hear on this show. The judges look at each other like, where's this chick been all this time? But eventually Keith give himself over to it and deploys his exquisite listening face, and by the end, Angela gets a four-way standing ovation from the judges, which I don't think we've seen yet this year. They gush unreservedly at her, except Nicki, who admits that she wasn't even on their radar before now. Even I think that was pretty amazing. So it's all downhill from here.
Candice Glover and Janelle Arthur -- who were frontrunners until just a minute ago -- are next. Candice sings a somewhat pitchy version of Alicia Keys's "Girl on Fire," but she's loud enough to rock the judges back in their seats, so they've got nothing bad to say about it. Then it's Janelle's turn. Ryan's narration about how this is her third season of trying interrupts her twangy rendition of "I Told You So," which is a lot better than last night when she was saddled with Kez Ban and the rest of The Misfits for the group round, and the judges still like her. After that, Ryan says, "The most shocking performance of the season is just moments away," as we see a teaser of Zoanette Johnson taking off her jacket and sitting down in slow motion behind a drum kit. Okay, I'm ready to be shocked.